- The infamous Black Legion -
The Primarch of the Luna Wolves was the infamous Horus, first and greatest of ail the Primarchs. His Legion conquered countless worlds during the Great Crusade before Horus betrayed the Emperor and led a violent rebellion that devastated the Imperium. The Luna Wolves are the only Space Marine Legion to have changed their name, becoming the Sons of Horus and finally the Black Legion.
The early history of the First Founding Space Marine Legions is largely lost to the relentless march of time. Accounts and details of those Legions that rebelled (and especially of the Arch-Traitor Horus himself) were further expunged from Imperial records after the Horus Heresy, to deny any knowledge of those events from the vulnerable minds of Imperial citizens. Indeed, only a select handful of powerful individuals know any of the truth and it is likely that none know it all. Such information that does exist is sketchy and anecdotal, and lies in ancient heretical tomes closely guarded by certain Inquisitors or handed down within the secret orders of the original Legions that remained loyal.
These records suggest that the Space Marines of the Luna Wolves Legion were created using human stock taken from the violent hive gangs inhabiting a planet called Cthonia. This planet allegedly existed in one of Earth's closest neighbouring systems. Being within reach even for non-warp spacecraft, Cthonia had been colonised, built upon, tunnelled and mined probably since the dawn of space travel. As such, all natural resources had been stripped away and used up millennia before, and the ancient mining technology had long since been rediscovered and removed by the Adepts of Mars. The planet that remained was largely redundant and abandoned, completely riddled with catacombs, crumbling industrial plants and exhausted mine-workings.
Fierce gangs inhabited the lawless depths of Cthonia, enjoying freedom from the rigours of Imperial citizenship; but at the time of the First Founding they provided an easy source of Human specimens whom nobody would miss. One report talks of so-called 'recruitment squads' rounding up thousands of gangers and shipping them away, chained together in the holds of prison-shuttles, to geno-laboratories on Luna. Here they were modified using the genetic code of the Primarch Horus. It is more common for Space Marine genetic stock to be gleaned from feral or primitive worlds, however after the usual hypno-psychological indoctrination process, the Luna Wolves recruits emerged as excellent and ferociously loyal specimens.
Information about Horus himself is even harder to uncover. It is thought that he was the first of the Primarchs to be recovered by the Emperor, having been cast much closer to Terra than the others, and was found at a much younger age. As a result, Horus was for many years the Emperor's only son, and there was a great affinity between them. The Emperor spent much time with his protege, teaching and encouraging him. Horus was soon placed in command of the Luna Wolves Legion - ten thousand Space Marines created from his own genetic code. With these warriors to lead, Horus accompanied the Emperor for the first thirty years of the Great Crusade, and together they forged the initial expansion of the young Imperium.
The two fought together on many occasions. At the fortified city of Reillis, a Human settlement unwilling to accept the Emperor's beneficent will, the defending army used secret tunnels to infiltrate behind the besieging Imperial army and hundreds of shock troops swamped the command encampment. Unprepared and unarmoured, the Emperor and Horus fought back to back until a plasma blast stunned Horus and sent him staggering to the floor. The Emperor stood over the Primarch and refused to give ground until reinforcements arrived to drive their attackers back. On the Ork-infested planet of Gorro, Horus repaid the debt by hacking the arm from a huge, frenzied Greenskin warlord as it struggled to choke the Emperor's life out of him.
Then came the day that the Emperor divined the presence of a second Primarch in their proximity and immediately set out to find him, leaving Horus in temporary command of the massed Legions of the Great Crusade. While he rejoiced at the discovery of one of his brothers, Horus was determined that the Emperor would always remain most proud of him, his first son.
As other Primarchs were discovered, the Emperor's time was pulled more and more in other directions and, while many of the other Legions now had their destined leaders, Horus was often given overall strategic command. It was a position he relished, proving himself time and again a consummate general, winning praise and decorations from the Emperor for his achievements and conquests. He had the approval and admiration of all the Space Marine Legions, including their Primarchs.
It is said that as well as being a great warrior and strategist, Horus was fiercely intelligent. He was charismatic, persuasive and had an innate understanding of psychology. He could read men in order to use their strengths or exploit their weaknesses. These skills made him a well-loved leader, but also allowed him to find non-military solutions when others would simply have attacked. On many worlds, a blunt explanation of the destructive might at his disposal and a day's parley with the planetary leaders was enough to bring them into the Imperial fold without bloodshed. Horus always took trouble to follow the local Human customs and modes of greeting if he thought it would lessen the chance of a hostile reaction to his arrival. His practice of taking part in local rituals to establish ties for later exploitation soon became Imperial policy.
Horus was also skilled in getting the best out of the other Primarchs and their respective Legions. Many of them excelled in a particular style of fighting, and Horus encouraged this diversity and endeavoured to deploy them to war zones that would suit them best.
If a sudden strike was needed, he would send the White Scars or the Night Lords. If a protracted campaign was expected, then the Death Guard or the Salamanders were used. When precise timing or covert operations were required, the Alpha Legion were favoured, and if simple ferocity was called for, other Legions were brought to the fore. Horus wielded the Space Marine Legions as a lesser commander would wield the squads of his army, positioning them so that each could perform to their advantages and win glory for all. There is also evidence that he sent dispatches detailing the World Eaters' most ferocious victories to the Blood Angels Legion and vice versa, presumably to foster a competitive rivalry. Likewise, it can be assumed that Horus was well aware of the feud between the Space Wolves and the Dark Angels. These two Legions were repeatedly deployed in joint actions, spurring them both on to greater military feats in order to outdo each other.
His own Legion had all the glory of being the greatest Primarch's personal guard, and they shared Horus's credo of fighting to be the best. Under his inspiring command, the Luna Wolves were always at the forefront of the latest campaign, pushing the boundaries of the Imperium ever wider, driving further and further into the galaxy and striving to conquer and liberate more worlds than the other Legions. In the Aartuo, Keskastine and Androv Systems, the Luna Wolves are .known to have moved swiftly on to planet after planet as soon as the local armies had been subdued. The Ultramarines and the Iron Warriors, who were fighting alongside Horus's Legion at this time, were repeatedly left to mop up any final pockets of resistance and establish garrisons on the conquered worlds. The Luna Wolves officers apparently refused point blank to assign any troops to these duties, Insisting that every man was required for the ongoing crusade. Further rebellion flared up on a number of the planets after the Luna Wolves had left, and it is believed that the Ultramarines Primarch Roboute Guilliman subsequently had words with Horus on the matter. At the time it seems that Horus pacified the Primarch by admitting that Guilliman was much better at this sort of thing than he was, however in his great work, the Codex Astartes - completed much later - Guilliman prescribed a much more thorough tactical doctrine for the suppression of a planet.
The Ullanor Crusade saw Horus battling a huge Ork empire. At its conclusion, the Emperor declared it the greatest victory yet for his mighty Imperium and was said to bestow much praise upon the Luna Wolves and Horus, for their part in the campaign. The most notable reward was the renaming of the Legion. The Emperor sent word that henceforth they would be known as the Sons of Horus, in honour of their Primarch. Horus himself was given the title Warmaster - now officially supreme commander of the Emperor's forces. Despite these great honours, there is some suggestion that Horus was less than content. The wording of the Emperor's proclamation clearly claimed the glory of Horus's victories as his own. This was the usual rhetoric for such announcements - after all, the Primarchs were the sworn vassals of him and his Imperium. And yet in the Primarch's eyes, the Emperor now spent his time in safety at his palace on Terra while Horus won his Imperium for him. It seems likely that a deeply-rooted resentment had surfaced.
Before he could return to Terra to be officially invested with his new title, Horus apparently fell ill on a small feral world called Davin. During his convalescence, he took part in the induction ceremony of a warrior lodge on the planet. This was the Primarch's well-tried practice to develop ties with local populations - feral natives were more easily recruited into the Imperial fold when the 'Warriors from the Stars' had become brothers. However, this time was different. In the days that followed, Horus's officers detected a change in his character. It is now presumed that the warrior lodge was in fact a Chaos coven, which somehow managed to ensorcel the Warmaster.
The Primarch proceeded to introduce similar 'warrior lodges' into his own Legion, and then others under his command. Horus's fealty had changed; his Legion believe that he was actually possessed by a Daemon. Whether or not this is true, it is certain that he was now allied body and soul to the powers of Chaos, and he had a new vision for the Imperium with himself at its head. Whether the events on Davin were planned by the gods of Chaos or just the work of an isolated group is unsure. Certainly a Primarch becoming ill was almost unheard of, and it would surely have required a virulent and unique ailment to affect him, perhaps indicating a greater conspiracy.
The Sons of Horus, already fiercely loyal and proud of their Warmaster, had no hesitation. They quickly renounced their oaths to the Emperor and started to worship Horus and his new gods. The corruption spread to every organisation with which Horus had dealings, including a division of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and from there to the Collegia Titanica and the Legio Cybernetica. The other Primarchs, Horus knew like brothers, and was already well practiced at motivating them. Appealing to their pride, martial prowess and courage, while playing upon past grudges and favours, the Warmaster gained the loyalty of fully half the Primarchs. The war that followed was the most terrible in the history of the Imperium, and came close to shattering it forever. Space Marines fought Space Marines and Titans fought Titans as Earth was invaded, and the Emperor's palace itself was besieged and breached.
History records that on the 55th day of the battle, overwhelming Imperial reinforcements approached. In a bid to slay the Emperor before it was too late, Horus lowered the shields around his battle barge, daring his creator to teleport on board. But it was Horus who was slain, and with him died the rebellion. It was a traumatic and devastating blow for the Sons of Horus. Everything they had ever fought for was lost. The Legion fell back immediately from the attack on the palace and fought their way back to their shuttles. This action alone is thought to have secured the enmity of all the other Traitor Legions. On board the battle barge, the Captain of the 1st Company led a furious counter-attack to drive the Imperials from the vessel, then fled into space with the Warmaster's body.
Along with the other rebel Legions, the Sons of Horus found refuge in the Eye of Terror, where they established a base from which to continue the campaign against the Imperium. They constructed a fortress-tomb for the body of the Warmaster and even in death still revered him as their commander. Nobody was appointed in his place and the Captains of the Legion would offer sacrifices and pray for guidance in his shrine. In the following centuries they were the most active of the Traitor Legions, possibly trying to maintain their tradition of achieving more than the others, or perhaps seeking to atone for their moment of weakness on Terra. During this time they offered their worship to each of the Chaps gods in turn, willingly giving their bodies to possession by Daemons in emulation of their dead Primarch. However, with every change in loyalty, the Daemons of the rejected god retreated into the warp leaving their Space Marine hosts nothing more than discarded husks. The Legion grew fewer and fewer until it was threatened with extinction. Desperate experimentation and research by the Legion's Sorcerer-Librarians finally uncovered a method of possession that did not destroy the mortal host.
Saved, but still numerically inferior, the Sons of Horus fought a series of bloody wars against the other Traitor Legions, vying for resources, power and superiority within the Eye of Terror. The culmination of the conflict was the destruction of the Legion's fortress by a combined force of their erstwhile allies, including the Emperor's Children. Worse still, the Warmaster's corpse was taken and there were subsequent reports that a being calling himself the Primogenitor was working with the Emperor's Children to clone the body. With their Primarch taken from them and defiled by their enemies, the remains of the Legion finally swore fealty to a new leader - Abaddon, Captain of the 1 st Company.
Abaddon knew that the memory of the Warmaster shackled his Legion to the failures of the past, so his first edicts renounced the name of Horus and the ancient title of the Legion. Taking their last surviving battle barge, he led them in a lightning raid that destroyed the Warmaster's body and the whole cloning laboratory complex. For this action and in every subsequent sighting, each Space Marine's armour was painted black. Since this time, Abaddon's 'Black Legion' has raided the Imperium, sowing havoc and misery on every world it attacks.
The Legion's home world of Cthonia no longer exists, having apparently lost geo-structural integrity and broken apart into asteroids and debris during the centuries following the Heresy. Certainly the once ore-rich planet was riddled with mine workings right through to its dead core (in fact the numerous gangers that formed the population may originally have been imported as work teams to maintain the crumbling tunnels), however there is much conjecture that Cthonia was destroyed deliberately.
Since the destruction of their fortress in the Eye of Terror, the Black Legion is no longer based on any particular planet, instead stationed permanently on various spacecraft. They possess a single ancient battle barge from their original fleet, as well as other vessels commandeered or captured over the years. In particular, many Imperial Navy ships that rebelled during the Horus Heresy now seem to be under Abaddon's command, along with newer vessels he has ordered constructed.
The Legion is a flexible fighting force, that can perform well and adapt quickly to any combat situation. It was trained to respond sharply and decisively to the tactical orders of its Warmaster and consequently the chain of command within the Legion was very efficient. This suffered significantly during the early years of exile when the Legion was leaderless, but Abaddon has done much to restore discipline, mainly through fear and horrendous violence inflicted on those that displease him. Horus's favoured doctrine of 'tearing the throat out of the enemy' by eliminating their high command in a swift strike, remains a well-used tactic.
After the death of Horus, proper structure within the squads and companies disintegrated, and their later dispersal in various spacecraft further fragmented the Legion. Now warbands of virtually any size and composition can be found following Black Legion Champions - ranking officers from older times or newly emerged leaders who have won favour through their violent deeds. At times, such warbands rally together under the banner of a greater Champion or even Abaddon himself, for a major raid or incursion into the hated Imperium. However, loyalty to differing Chaos gods often leads to internal politics and conflict. Possession by Daemons is still considered highly favourable, and many members of the Legion have the honour of being hosts.
The overriding belief of the Legion prior to the Warmaster's demise was in the ultimate superiority of Horus and themselves. In continually seeking to prove themselves as the greatest Legion, they did indeed achieve most in terms of sheer numbers of worlds brought into the Imperial fold prior to the Heresy. Their defeat and exile was a crushing blow to the collective ego of the Legion. It has taken all the strength of character of their new commander, Abaddon, to restore the Legion's sense of pride and refocus on their ultimate goal - to overthrow everything which the false emperor of Mankind created.
The Legion's gene-seed, prior to the incident on Davin, was reliably pure. However, following their corruption by Chaos, Space Marines started to exhibit random mutations, and it is likely that this taint goes right down to the gene-seed level. The regular practice of seeking Daemonic possession may also have accelerated the effect. However, such mutations are seen as a mark of favour from the Chaos deities and are generally displayed with pride.
Up until the destruction of Horus's body: "For the Warmaster!" Following this event, the various warbands each use their own battle-cries. Warbands fighting for Abaddon use: "We are returned!"